Letter: Europe must lead in Middle East

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The Independent Online
Sir: Patrick Cockburn ("Come, let us reason together", 10 September) provides a compelling reason for the European Union to dissociate itself from the US Middle East policy and to forge its own distinct path.

Oslo was built on "constructive ambiguity", predicated on mutual goodwill and the political danger of stating the end goal. Goodwill was lacking since Labour initiated the most intensive phase of settlement of the West Bank and East Jerusalem since 1967, clearly intended to foreclose the chance of Palestinian sovereignty over an integral territory, thus rendering the process meaningless for Palestinians. Hamas used violence to destroy a bankrupt process, and the US supports Israel for domestic reasons.

The EU must now decide whether to support a process that cannot lead to peace or stability, and which will profoundly damage its own Mediterranean interests, or whether to articulate a fresh approach, the outcome it seeks, and the principles of international law that must necessarily underpin that road and outcome.

Both protagonists require a coherent and viable sovereign state and both require mutual security arrangements, internationally guaranteed. That means a separation of the two communities, not as at present under circumstances of Israel's apartheid system, but territorially separate.

DAVID McDOWALL

Richmond, Surrey

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